New Orleans Mensa

La Plume de NOM for November/December 2008

The Magazine of New Orleans Mensa Information and Entertainment


by Anne Osteen Stringer

This will be the last issue of La Plume that I will edit. La Plume is the only contact that some of our members have with the local group, so it is important that it furnish information about group activities that is not available in the national bulletin. I also like to highlight the talent of the writers, artists, actors, and musicians in the local group. I want to thank everyone who helped with or contributed to La Plume, especially Joe Hopkins, Henry Bertrand, Nick Gebhard, and H. A special thank you goes to Patti Armatis who handles the nitty gritty of mailing La Plume each month. Thanks also to Gerry Ward and the entire Excomm for being supportive and helpful.

Our new editor is Lauren Alsop. She will give you more information about herself in the January issue, so I will just say that she is talented, enthusiastic, and charming. Items for inclusion in the January issue can be sent to

Lots of local news and events reported in this issue. Cover art is Umbrellas, a prize winning photograph by H.

LocSec’s Lucubrations

by Gerry Ward

Well, Gustav cancelled our first Labor Day picnic, so I have been trying to meet our St. Tammany members at the dinners.

Our Gifted Children’s Coordinator is still waiting to be officially appointed by National, but the wheels of government grind slowly. I have met a few of the kids, and I would like to meet all of them. Some of the new ones’ parents have not sent me their email addresses, so please send them to me. It is not practical to discuss or plan things with an every other monthly newsletter as our only means of communication. I would also like to receive the emails of the adult members who did not put them on their information for National. I use blind copy so no one else will see your address.

National Mensa reports that dues will increase from $52 to $59 next year. (Prices of everything are going up!) If you renew by Dec. 31, you can renew at the old price. This includes multiple years and life memberships.

Since Veterans’Day is near, we would like to honor our members who are vets. Some said a lot; some very little; some not at all. As one wife put it, “They did their duty; they may talk about it in Veterans meetings, but they don’t like to talk about it with civilians.”So we know the honor roll will not have all of them. Among them, we have those who served in every war since the last year of WWII until the present day, and the peacetimes in between. Some were career men, and some did their service and went on to civilian careers. Some continued in the reserves. Many medals and honors were won or achieved. I learned a few things as well. One tall member said that when he went to join up for WWII, he was rejected by several services for being too tall, so his Dad went with him back to the Navy recruiter. They measured him again; suddenly he “lost” ¼ inch and made it in. I was surprised to learn that some vets who served after the treaty was signed are considered WWII veterans. AS one put it, ”The enemy did not or would not believe they had surrendered. They kept shooting at us. I call that war.”

The following is a list of those NOMs who answered my request for information about military service. I’m sure there are others who did not respond who have served their country. We honor them all.

Roy Ball Navy 1945-1946
Fred Hatfield Army 1946-1948
Dick Krowicki Army 1946-1949
  National Guard 1949-1983
Richard Garrett Army  
Joseph Hopkins Navy 1955-1959
  Reserve, Inactive 1959-1963
Robert Myers Marine Corps 1961-1967
Phil Wilking Navy 1962-1967
René Petersen Army 1967-1975
  Reserve, Active 1975-1995
Drew Jardine Army 1970-1971
Brian Bice Army  

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

North Shore News

by Rebecca Pharr

We have met some of our new members at the September and October Northshore dinners and we welcome them to New Orleans Mensa. Bryan Bice and Dr. Michael Kubisch were at Trey Yuen in Mandeville in September. Although Bryan is a business man and Michael is more academic, the five men present found a lot in common to talk about. Craig Hopkins, Henry Bertrand, Jake (Owen's step-brother) engaged in man-talk while Owen read a book and I basically just listened. It isn't all their fault, though, I do admit I fall short in the area of conversation. But the food was good, although it was remarked that it all looked the same. The ambiance, however, was ornate.

Gerry Ward, our Loc Sec, was able to come to the October dinner at La Rosetta in Slidell to meet Marie and Alexis Ashton and their father Fred. Marie and Alexis are two of our young Mensans. The dinner was very well attended, the food was good, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. I myself brought a guest, my coworker, Linda Vega, who helped tremendously to put the waitress at ease. La Rosetta ordinarily does not give separate checks, but they were able to make an exception for us. Linda was far more articulate than yours truly, and she was mistaken for already being in Mensa. We were glad to see our regulars, Henry, Craig, and Margaret McCullough, as well this time. Dwayne Bright planned to come but I did not get to talk to him this time.

Our next two dinners are already planned. On Thursday, November 20, 2008, at 7 pm, we will meet at the Thai Pot, 315 Vermont Street in Covington. This is one of Owen's favorite restaurants. It is a week to the day before Thanksgiving. In December, we will also be going a week to the day before a major holiday. Whether it is Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, the winter solstice or just plain holiday season, we welcome everyone to come to La Provence, 25020 Highway 190 in Lacombe, Louisiana on Thursday, December 18, 2008, at 7 pm to celebrate everything. Gerry is hoping that we can change to another day of the month to meet starting in January, as we are presently back-to-back with the Dinner Club on the third Wednesday. Hopefully we can discuss this at one of our upcoming dinners.

I encourage all of our new members formerly from Baton Rouge's area as well as New Orleans Mensans from the northshore and the southshore to come to our November and December dinners. Please contact Rebecca Pharr at when you are sure whether or not you can make each one. I love to eat and apparently everyone shares that interest!


Hell’s Ms is the SIG for Mensans who like to party. It began at the joint US and Canadian Mensa Annual Gathering in 1988. A group of Mensans felt that too much emphasis was being placed on scholarship and educational activities. They wanted the party people to be able to recognize each other. So they designed a Hell’s Mensans tee shirt and it sold like hotcakes. A SIG was formed and today there are over 50 chapters. You can learn more about Hell’s Ms by visiting their website . They publish a newsletter Party Smart and there is a “booteak” where you can buy neat stuff like tee shirts, jackets, and even a leather pocket protector with the Hell’s Ms logo. Hell’s Ms Carribean Cruise is planned for next February, so if you like to party, check it out.


New Orleans Musica da Camera is the oldest early music organization in the country. The group performs the music of the 10th through the 16th centuries, using historically informed performance techniques and reproductions of period instruments. NOM Thais St. Julien is co-director of the group. She announces the following concerts for the Christmas season. Concerts feature the women’s vocal ensemble, Vox Feminæ. All concerts are free and open to the public.

Sunday, November 30 3:00 PM at St. Joseph Abbey Church near Covington, LA

Sunday, December 7 4:00 PM at Ursuline Chapel, 2701 State St. New Orleans

Sunday, December 14 3:00 PM at Holy Name of Mary Church, 500 Eliza St, Algiers Point

Back to the La Plume de NOM main page.
These pages and all content Copyright (c) 2008 by New Orleans Mensa, all rights reserved. Mensa ® and the Mensa logo (as depicted for example in U.S. TM Reg. No. 1,405,381) are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by American Mensa, Ltd., and are registered in other countries by Mensa International  Limited and/or affiliated national Mensa organizations. Mensa does not hold any opinion or have, or express, any political or religious views.
Last edited: 15-Mar-2009 . Webmaster Bart J. Geraci can be reached at